Keep On Trucking!… And Sewing!

From single working mother to proud owner of her own wholesale clothing company. It’s a remarkable story that began with an unremarkable event: responding to a newspaper ad. Mary Works sat down in 1975, as she did most days, to read the newspaper. Only that day was different. She didn’t turn to the front page…

Kirsten Johansen- Philanthropy is ‘Uniquely American’

It’s been widely publicized just how corrupt the non-profit industry is. Given my over 20-year career in the industry, I won’t even try to deny that claim. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve seen people betray the trust of others by inappropriately using charitable donations for private benefit. It’s horrible. It makes you look at the line…

Press On Despite the Pain- David Zahren

David Zahren knew he loved science ever since he was a Boy Scout. There were times when he wanted to do wildlife management and times he wanted to be a veterinarian. Of all the things he thought he would pursue in science, however, sharing his passion for science and inspiring children wasn’t one of them….

Craig Grossi- Finding Friends in Unusual Places

Craig Grossi stood on the stage with just a notecard in his hand. His father had tried to get him to write a speech but that wasn’t Craig’s style. Instead, he jotted a few ideas down on the notecard and planned to improvise the rest. It was so appropriate that this was how he chose…

Sloane & Casey Simmons- In Pursuit of Good Stuff

“If you want to know what it’s like to feel like dirt, walk into a bank with all the necessary paperwork and qualifications for a loan and get denied nine different times.” Sloane Simmons remembers how many different emotions she felt sitting in the bank that day. Disbelief, frustration, anger, exhaustion, sadness. There were so…

An American Dream in Progress

In 2001 my parents, in their early 40s and already established in their careers in Macedonia, took a giant bet and a leap of faith and came to the United States. My dad took a significantly lower post at the Macedonian Embassy than his position back home and my mom who is a structural engineer…

Hector Garcia- Exodus From Cuba

My world changed on a perfectly beautiful spring morning in March of 1962. A whole year of paperwork and preparations had culminated into this, a Friday morning, at the age of 15. Instead of preparing to go out to have fun with my friends, I was now preparing to leave my family and enchanting country,…

John Saunders- A Son Looking Back on His Father’s Dream

John Saunders was born in 1927 in Washington, D.C. He was one of five children. His father was a reporter and was said to have the largest working vocabulary of any newspaperman in the area; he also had a weak heart and possibly a drinking problem. He died when John was not yet five years…

The Recovery and Dream of Ed Eckenhoff

My grandfather immigrated to America and delivered milk. My father worked hard, became a physician, and achieved national recognition. My father’s success was earned through diligence and determination. He believed that my brothers and I should follow his example. He never paid an allowance; he never gave us anything besides encouragement and expectations. We grew…

Hank Holland- The Beauty & Hope of Colors

Hank Holland was born with mild Cerebral Palsy, but through his colorful life has become a true entrepreneur and one of America’s most sought-after folk artists. With over 8100 paintings to his name, he has been featured in 9 magazines and several local newspapers. His work hangs in homes and businesses spanning all 50 states…

Jose Rodriguez’s Barbershop

Jose Rodriguez first set foot in Washington D.C. on March 24th, 1957. After paying a taxi to get downtown and spending the last eight dollars in his pocket, he began going door to door determined to find a job. Starting on 18th Street and Columbia Road, he walked down the block to every shop and…

Paul Berry

Paul Berry was born in the city of Detroit on February 15, 1944. He was raised by his grandmother Annie M. Talley – to whom he was the oldest of 54 grandchildren. She saw him as her second chance to be an even better parent and instill the drive and discipline into her grandson that…